Critical Literature Reviews: How to Evaluate Scientific Works Critically

critical review literatureLet us point out right from the start that a critical literature review is a task that many students hate completing. First, it is rather time-consuming work. Second, it is also a bit nervous too, because evaluating works written by some scholars who seem to be much smarter than you are is confusing a little.
 
Making critical reviews of literature on various subjects is one of the typical college assignments, by the way. Besides, it will be an obligatory part of your graduate project. This is why forget about some confusing feelings you might have and learn how to prepare a critical literature review.
 
Basic guidelines for making critical literature reviews

  • As a rule, professors ask to make reviews 20-30 pages long;
  • They also ask to use not less than 15 sources in a critical literature review;
  • Finally, professors expect you to show some very important skills like critical thinking, an ability to analyze information, etc.

How to evaluate scientific works critically
 
Probably, this is the main question you have about making critical literature reviews. How exactly should you criticize and evaluate scholarly works? Are there some criteria you can use? Certainly, such criteria exist, and we have listed them below.
 
Author of the work
 
Your evaluation of the work should start with its author. Is it a reputable scholar whose name is recognized in the academic community? What are his/her previous works? If you know nothing about the author, perhaps this work should not be included into your critical literature review.
 
Content of the work
 
The most important aspects here are arguments and evidences that are used to back up the author’s opinion. In your critical literature review, you should not discuss something that sounds biased or invalid.
 
Audience
 
What is the target audience of this work? If it is an average reader, then the work is most likely written at the elementary level. This may not suit your critical literature review as well.
 
Here, you can find detailed information about Psychology literature reviews.